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developing balance in the greenie

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  • developing balance in the greenie

    coming over here from hunter-land.i have asked same question in the hunter forums,but i thought maybe dressage land might have different suggestion as what exercises to do as well.

    i have 5 yr old that is having balance issues in flatwork(especially at trot)
    no canter raining yet.my horse has only been u/s for few months.

    1)what do you do with your young prospects to help them with balance on the flatwork?
    2)balance=suppleness or suppleness=balance

  • #2
    Really the best thing you can do is develope enough of a independent seat to stay out of his way while he learns to balance not only himself but the rider. Lots of transitions and bending changes of direction will help because he has to learn to adjust his and your weight.
    Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


    • #3
      what CFFarm said

      Balance is something the horse needs to figure out. So you need to set up the horse to be able to learn it. You want to be able to challenge them, but at the same time set them up for success.

      So start with sweeping turns, easy transitions (though I learnt by accident my last ride that my green bean tb finds canter to walk transitions no biggie)

      Remember that all horses are different. Some are born balanced and find things easy, others take more time. Stay out of the way, nice easy contact. Let the horse figure it out. Half halt when needed etc. But don't overly baby sit every stride either at this point. IME that just pisses them off. I love how Kyra Kyrklund explains it in her book, influence = punishment. So you esp want to keep greenies relaxed and looking forward to working. Less is more in most things.


      • #4
        agree with above but be sure that you are asking him to really work forward. Because forward is the foundation of everything else.

        not rushing, but actively marching along whether in walk or trot. you want to be able to easily and instantaneously get to the next gait up if you so ask.

        be sure to not ride with loose reins. he needs the reins to balance on and to find the correct frame that allows him to work over the back.

        then it just takes time. they say 2 years for just baked to 2nd level. so while you need to challenge him be sure you are under or over asking.


        • #5
          Here's an exercise that I really like for green horses to learn balance. It's not too complicated and should help your balance and aids as well.

          Start off in trot on a 20 meter circle. A few steps before you reach the centerline, barely ride a transition to walk. The horse should step into a really long walk, like they would have right before going into trot. Ride three steps of this big, swingy walk, then right back to trot. Try to keep the exercise precise to get the horse off the aids and be careful to "land" the horse with your seat rather than pulling him into a walk with the reins. If you pull him into a walk, the hindlegs will stop and the purpose of the exercise will be defeated. The goal to to make the horse "scoot" under with his hindlegs and teach him to carry himself with his hindlegs under himself.

          Hope this helps!


          • #6
            I've found that work in side reins helps my greenie. She's all legs and energy, so balance is somewhat subjective.

            Working her on the line with side reins has been helping her find her balance, without me getting in her way, which was upsetting her more and more. I do lots of walk/trot/canter transitions, and making the circle bigger/smaller.

            As for mounted stuff, I agree with everybody else! They've given you some great exercises.


            • #7
              I think trail riding with obstacles (nothing super challenging) is really good. Stepping over a log, going up and down hills or small banks, walking a long a narrow trail, all these things help a lot.

              If you don't have access to good trails you can design some interesting approximations with cavalettis.
              See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


              • #8
                Make sure they are straight down the long wall. Even on both reins.